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Now boarding on the Blind Eye express

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
August 8, 2001


"Principles aren't of much account…except at election-time. After that you hang them up to let them season. — Mark Twain

There are very few issues that can bring the people of Encinitas together. Long a place where residents take an active role in shaping their city, Encinitans are very protective of the character of their community and quality of life. Always ready for a good rumble, Encinitas is not one to roll over and play dead.

Much to his own peril, Supervisor Bill Horn has taken a direct aim at Encinitas, and in doing so has united the residents of Encinitas in a way not seen since other short sighted politicians tried to shove Highway 680 up its backside. Supervisor Horn lacks vision, and the historical perspective needed to govern wisely. Tempting fate and his own undoing, Bill is in way over his head.

Unlike Carlsbad to the north, the Encinitas city council is concerned about how growth impacts its residents. Far from obstructionists, Encinitas is refusing to take the easy way out by accepting substandard projects, which would do little to reduce traffic and promote commuter rail use. By demanding careful and future focused planning, Encinitas is finding itself in direct opposition to Supervisor Bill Horns political pandering and chest thumping ignorance.

The question that most people are asking themselves is what is Bill Horn really up too. In the last six months he has demonstrated behavior of a petty tyrant, drunk on an over inflated sense of self worth. Working shamelessly to advance his agenda at the expense of all others. The desired pay off motivating Mr. Horn should be of great interest to everyone. Let's look at the clues he has given so far.

Bill Horn loves big money. One can be assured if big money is to be had Bill will be close at hand. A bully can never be too well financed. Friends in low places need friends in high places. And since Supervisor Horn thinks very highly of himself, pimping for mineral extraction interests, thoroughbred owners, and rouge rail executives comes naturally to this man who would be king.

With the precision of a blunt object Mr. Horn is trying to dismantle all opposition to those asking for restraint while planning the double tracking of the Los Angeles-San Diego rail corridor. For questioning North County Transit District intent to double track fragile and failing coastal bluffs, Bill has launched a full court press against Supervisor Pam Slater and the city of Del Mar.

To punish Supervisor Slater for representing the people of Del Mar and their desire to shift rail traffic off the coast, he has gerrymandered the county redistricting as if to isolate her constituents. All this because, Marti Minkoff at NCTD is unwilling to admit that the rail corridor, developed a century ago, can no longer handle the traffic.

To stick it to Del Mar he is undermining conservation attempts along the San Dieguito river valley by advocating expansion of horse racing facilities within the floodplain. This time listening to those that profit from the commercialization of public land. Bill is doing for the 22nd Agricultural District Board what he is attempting to do for NCTD.

At a time when coastal wildlife habitats and agricultural land use in the county are disappearing, it seems Supervisor Horn has his priorities backwards. Bill's unwillingness move beyond the politics of might makes right is as reckless as it is transparent.

Rancho Sante Fe and Fairbanks Ranch will be the next communities to feel the back of his heavy hand, now that he has claimed them as spoils in his war against the environment.

At first I thought Horn's redistricting power play was about doing favors for the people racing horses in Del Mar. Since there is no pay-off turning Pam Slater into an environmental martyr, there had to be another reason Horn would abandon Escondido for the unincorporated regions to the west.

For a moment I thought it might be about getting Jerry Harmon off his back. Then it hit me. Bill is not only playing with trains, he wants a highway as well. By manipulating Rancho Sante Fe in to his supervisorial district he becomes head honcho with no city officials to deal with. This makes it easy for Bill to resurrect Highway 680 and connect the Del Dios highway to Carlsbad.

Ethically challenged, Supervisor Horn is a one man wrecking crew. Intent on paving coastal North County, Bill Horn will need to work fast. Prominent individuals are already lining up to bring this offending official down.

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